Background Quality management systems are widely used to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. However, evidence regarding the value of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model in improving the performance of hospital departments is lacking. Objective To describe the value of the EFQM model as a quality framework for improving the performance of a hospital pharmacy department (PD).
Design A case study describing the development of the Enablers’ criteria of the model and the results achieved. Setting PD in a tertiary-care teaching hospital of the Madrid Public Health Service (Spain). Interventions Four self-assessments were conducted using the questionnaire “Perfil” during the period 2008–2017. A quality improvement plan was developed on the basis of the results of each self-assessment. A balanced scorecard was used to track progress. Improvement in quality management was externally evaluated by the Spanish Management Excellence Club in 2010, 2013, and 2017.
Main outcome measures Change in the scores obtained in the external assessments, the quality improvement initiatives implemented for each Enabler's criteria, and the results of key performance indicators.
Results The EFQM was a useful framework for self-assessment and a good system for identifying improvement initiatives. The model progressively improved the services provided for patients, the safety and efficiency of pharmacotherapy, productivity of the PD, and customer and staff satisfaction. The external assessment scores exceeded 300 points in 2010, 400 points in 2013, and 500 points in 2017. Scores for all of the criteria progressively improved, particularly in ‘people’.
Conclusions The EFQM was a practical tool for improvement of PD performance, especially in areas such as strategic planning, people management, and innovation. The main difficulties were the lack of decision-making capacity in relevant areas and benchmarking with other PDs.
Quality management systems are widely used to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. After the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001, the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model is the most widespread approach in Europe.1,2
The EFQM model is a non-prescriptive framework based on nine criteria that assess the progress made by organizations on their path to excellence. It emphasizes self-assessment and the detection of strengths and weaknesses using the guiding principles of the criteria. This model is a valuable tool that can help organizations to recognize gaps in quality management and monitor their improvement.3
This experience shows that the principles of the EFQM model are helpful at any organizational level, even on a small scale, such as in a pharmacy department. Working at a department level allows a high percentage of staff members to get involved in the project. The EFQM is a valuable framework for periodic assessment of PD performance, helping to identify actions for the continuous improvement of the safety and efficiency of pharmacotherapy, PD productivity, and customer and staff satisfaction. Evaluation and improvement of criteria beyond processes, such as leadership, partnerships, innovation and professional satisfaction, enable a more mature management system in the PD.